Why should we stop doing pet projects


I worked on my project for three years. And this was far from the first, I have accumulated a whole cemetery of unfinished projects. But in fact at the main work I quite successfully cope with my tasks. There is no problem with the timing or execution.

Of course, this situation should not surprise anyone: work is work, and a home project should be fun, you can do the most delicious, and not engage in the uniform polishing of small parts that are necessary for the release.

All this is true, but the pleasure of seeing someone else using your product, of seeing that it solves someone’s problems, is incomparably higher. So I decided at all costs to bring at least one project to release.
All that was needed was to figure out what prevented me from doing this earlier.

The very beginning: what is a pet project?

Judging by my experience (and the experience of my friends) - this is something that is always in the "process of development" stage and it is impossible to finish it. I can easily list the reasons why this happens:
  • We are constantly time to ourselves. This is absolutely normal, so our brain helps us deal with troubles. For example, instead of “I didn’t succeed” we say to ourselves “I’m no longer interested in this”;
  • There is no literature or courses on how to manage a pet project;
  • Even starting to work on something unknown is quite difficult;
  • Over time, even the most interesting project turns into a routine.

There are a thousand more reasons and excuses not to end a personal project.

Let's stop doing pet projects, this is something too vague, too incomprehensible, let's focus on what will lead us to its logical conclusion.

Project. Just a project

Everyone knows how to work on a project. We do this every day at our main job. You probably imagine all these tables, charts, time-trackers and think that the project is boring. Do not worry. Your own project is very exciting. First of all, think about the future: it is very pleasant to observe the development of your project. And then - you just need to see how anyone else uses it. In any case, the experience of working on a project as a customer, an executor, and a manager will never be superfluous.

Patience is definitely needed, but the result is worth it.

I often have to repeat myself:
This is not a sprint, this is a marathon.


Even if you have been working on your project for more than a month, it’s worth stopping and honestly answering one question:
What is my purpose? Why am I doing this?

On the way there are many different interesting sparkles that constantly distract from the main goal. The answer to this question will help to prioritize correctly.

The goal should be simple and clear. When I say to myself, “I want to deal with the X framework,” this is probably not the goal. More often there is a hidden motive: “I want to deal with the X framework in order to ...” The answer should be honest. If I want my personal project to bring me money, should I lie to myself and say “I just want to make a cool product” and hope that the money comes by itself? It will not happen. Isn't it better to immediately focus on the proof (or refutation) of the hypothesis that your product is commercially interesting?


Time management is a huge problem. A lot of literature has been written, there are many lectures, etc., but, of course, a universal algorithm does not exist.

I can just give some tips that work in my case. Start with planning. There is nothing better than the good old Gantt charts. Break your project into tasks, make a temporary assessment of each task, write them down. Make sure that completing all tasks requires more than one life, transfer some tasks to the backlog for later. Repeat all over again. Again, a clear understanding of the goal will help to prioritize each task.

By the way, when evaluating the task, keep in mind that days are not the same eight-hour working days. Note the time you spent on each task. Firstly, this will make the temporary assessment more accurate. Secondly, time tracking will be a good hint that you are moving in the right direction (or vice versa - in the wrong direction). A very important point - time tracking will help not to lose motivation in those moments when it seems that efforts do not bring any results.


Initially, it may seem that personal projects do not have resources that need to be managed, but this is not so. To start, think about your personal time. You can divide your salary by the number of working hours and get (very roughly) your value as a specialist per hour. Now think about money: which is cheaper - to fix the faucet in the kitchen yourself, or pay someone for this work and save your time? If you are going to make money with your project, then why not start earlier? You can hire a person to create a website, SEO article, or conduct marketing research.

The most valuable resource of your project, its vitality is your motivation. Do not wait for inspiration, manage your motivation like any other resource.

Again - no silver bullets, just tips:

Keep a to-do list on hand. There is always something to do, even if you are not in the mood to do one thing, you can do another. Just make sure you don’t waste time on unnecessary tasks.

Do not add to the point, leave work for tomorrow. I have only 2-3 hours after working on my project. It’s much easier to continue yesterday’s task than to start delving into a new one. And it also eliminates the “buildup” (just 2-3 hours, on Facebook, favorite blogs and comics, there is simply no time left).

Now you’ve read about project management and you may be thinking, “But what exactly is fan?” I bet your home project is very innovative. At least for you this is something new (otherwise why is this?).

Hm. Management of an innovative project, in conditions of complete uncertainty, constant search. Wait, isn't that ...


Startups are a lot of fun and excitement. Ask anyone. Moreover, now you can find tons of literature, video tutorials, blogs, lectures, courses on how to manage a startup. Even better: standard startup technologies can be taken and used in your project right now.

Minimum Viable Product - MVP

Minimum viable product , or MVP, is a generally accepted term (MJP would sound weird). Startups use MVP to confirm (or refute) product hypotheses. Initially, “they will use it,” “they will buy it,” etc.

MVP in a home project is not quite the same as in a startup. Something minimally viable needs to be done as early as possible, with minimal cost, but its main task is to maintain your motivation. If you work on something that you can’t “touch”, it will get bored very quickly.

For example, if I have to write a lot of code before I can start something, I do unit tests. The ability to run unit tests helps move on, not to mention the benefits of early testing.

You need to have something working at hand constantly. And this not only motivates, but also disciplines. For example, it forces you to focus on only one change, instead of making many changes at a time, so as not to break anything when it comes to code.

Lecture hall

The main problem for a startup is finding its audience. This can also be noted (there is a lot of literature and lessons). You are not alone, there are still people who are potentially interested in your project as well as yourself. Find them, tell us about your idea. You can find like-minded people, hear a lot of good advice and comments. In any case, reviews of living people motivate better than thousands of videos with cats.

You can use many other ideas from the world of startups, it all depends on what you want to achieve with your project.

Productivity requires sacrifice

Time is constantly running out, not only for personal projects, but in general. We cannot increase the number of hours in a day, but we can be more productive.

Mode . Bad news, yes. People are most productive when they live on a cyclical schedule.
If today I go to bed at 4 in the morning, tomorrow I will not have time to complete all the tasks at the main work, I will have to overtime, and there will be no time for a personal project, etc. Better stick to the schedule.

Sports . Like it or not, the carcass must be maintained in good condition, otherwise the consequences will be sad. It is difficult to start playing sports, but after a couple of weeks the body will begin to ask for the next portion of physical activity, and the condition when you just want to run forward, because you can’t describe it in words.

Balance. Everything is as always, but with a personal project, the situation becomes more critical. I myself read a lot about the importance of being able to balance, but at the same time I managed to drive myself into a burnout. Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. Even understanding his condition, there is no longer any strength left to switch, go somewhere, just relax. And you act out of habit, like a squirrel in a wheel, unable to break out of this circle.

That's all. I hope that this article will help you finish your home project, and with it the World will be a little, but better. 

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